FIRE UPDATE for July 23: Pine Creek mop-up begins

July 23, 2013 

Last updated at 8:36 a.m. July 23, 2013

Pine Creek Fire

Size: 2,797 acres (unchanged from Monday, July 22)

Location: About 19 miles northeast of Boise

Cause: Human

Percent contained: 90 (up from 80 percent on July 22)

Assigned personnel: 242 (down from 396)

Details: The Pine Creek Fire, which was responsible for smoky skies over Boise early last week, is now in its last throes. Containment is up to 90 percent, and management of the fire is being handed off to a Type 3 incident team effective at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Most of the firefighters who will remain on scene will perform mop-up duties and rehabilitation efforts, including putting down hot spots within the fire’s interior. Officials say pockets of fuel will continue to smolder and burn through the week.

Other details from Tuesday’s morning update: “The fire burned at varying intensity over the terrain, producing a mosaic pattern. In some areas within the fire perimeter, the fire burned with such intensity that it consumed all visible vegetation, while in other areas it burned light enough to consume only the vegetation at ground level. This variation in heat and duration allows for regeneration of the vegetation to occur more rapidly. Many of the tree and shrub species are fire-dependent and will prosper in the recently affected ecosystem.”

Grimes Creek Road is open.

Ridge Fire

Size: 3,704 acres

Location: About 15 miles north of Lowman

Cause: Lightning

Percent contained: 10 (up from 7 percent on Monday, July 22)

Assigned personnel: Approximately 150

Details: Although the fire grew about 700 acres in the past 24 hours, much of that increase took place in areas previously burned during the Red Mountain Fire of 2006. As a result, the fire activity there was lower intensity.

Firefighters are building containment lines around the fire’s west flank and will work north to meet up with containment efforts near Red Mountain. Helicopters also are providing suppression support, targeting some of the spot fires flaring up downwind of the main fire.

The Ridge Fire was initially feared to have the potential to grow into a significant wildfire because of the remote location of the area and the abundance of beetle-killed pines and other dead or dying vegetation.

Thunder City Fire

Size: 416 acres

Location: 4 miles northeast of the Stibnite Mining District

Cause: Lightning

Percent contained: 10

Assigned personnel: 159

Details: Some of the fire is burning within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. The fire’s growth Monday was on its eastern flank, and winds pushed it north and east. A release from the Payette National Forest indicates the fire showed some slow backing toward Sugar Creek and also spotted over Rainbow Ridge.

Crews will work Tuesday to hold and improve fire lines on the western and eastern flanks. An incident management team from Oregon assumed command of the fire Tuesday morning.

Though Johnson Creek airstrip remains open to the public, a temporary flight restriction has been put in place over the areas immediately surrounding the Thunder City Fire.

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